It’s now been 5 years since Future Youth Zone opened it’s doors to young people so we’re planning to celebrate in style with young people and the wider community over the coming days. I’ve been reflecting on everything that the Youth Zone has achieved the last 5 years and there are so many proud moments but I wanted to share a few that particularly standout.

In May 2019 we hosted a visit from Sajid Javed who was then the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Following the visit the Chancellor announced that DCMS would be developing plans for a new Youth Investment Fund to build more youth centres and refurbish old ones. Since that announcement dozens of facilities for young people have benefitted from government support and I’m so proud that we played our part in helping the Chancellor see the positive impact youth centres and youth work can have on young people. I’m also delighted that Padnall Hall in Marks Gate was a beneficiary of the Youth Investment Fund support and will be reopened specifically for young people next year.

The pandemic is a period of time that will last long in everyone’s memories for a whole range of different reasons. I was so proud that the Youth Zone continued to prove much needed services to young people and the wider community throughout various stages of lockdowns and restrictions which included over 2000 home visits and 17,000 phone call by youth workers to check in on young people and their families.

Last year we launched our new three year strategy called ‘Our Future is Bright’ and it fills me with pride that it is filled with as much optimism and positivity as we had on our opening day. The world had changed so much in the last 5 years but one thing that has remained the same is our ambition to positively transform the lives of Barking and Dagenham’s young people. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to join us for our fifth birthday celebration event on Saturday 18th May where we’ll be opening the doors of the Youth Zone to the whole community. We’ll be kicking off at 11am and will have the usual mixture of activities, performances from young people, great food along with a few extra special birthday surprises. 

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of the last five years of Future Youth Zone and we’re looking forward to many more to come.

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